Geographically, there isn’t a lot of distance between Jamaica and Cuba. Both are Caribbean nations with their own musical traditions. That being the case, it took an Australian to bring the two musical cultures together. Mista Savona is an artist who has released reggae and dub albums. When he visited Cuba, he had the idea to make a compilation that joined the music of Cuba with the music of Jamaica.
Much of the album was recorded at EGREM Studios, where Buena Vista Social Club was recorded. Maybe there’s something about the studio that produces recording magic because, like Buena Vista Social Club, Mista Savona Presents Havana Meets Kingston Part 2 is nothing but good songs that will make you groove.
“Guarachara” is a good example of the magic that happened in the recording process. It is an uptempo song with a cinematic feel. It’s easy to imagine this song as part of a movie soundtrack. The ending is particularly dramatic. While most of the song is made for dancing, it ends with a dramatic piano outro that brings Faith No More to mind.
“Lagrimas Negras” is another song with a cinematic feel. When you hear Beatriz Marquez sing the vocals, it’s easy to imagine her in a gown singing this on a bandstand in a movie.
“We Can Do It (Solutions)” is a song that features Stevie Culture. It is driven by the reggae rhythm and the piano. The positive message is a familiar one for reggae. Namely, that the solution to problems is more love. The message makes the song even more appealing.
“Reggae y Son” brings together elements of both styles featured on the album. It leans a lot more toward the Latin sound, particularly with the horns and percussion. The Jamaican sound is more in the vocals, which at one point are sort of rapped in a voice similar to Shaggy.
This is an interesting album, not just because it marries two distinctly different island sounds. It’s interesting because the moods of the two styles are completely different. The songs that incorporate the Cuban sounds will have you looking for a dance partner. The Kingston side of the album will have you looking to relax in the sun with your favorite beverage (or some other substance). Despite the different styles, it is a cohesive and enjoyable album. It is also a worthy follow-up to the first volume.